Types Of Face Masks On The Market And How To Choose The Right One


With the rapid spread of COVID 19 in Canada and other parts of the world, health experts recommend that everyone should wear a facemask when in public. A strong theory supports the idea of wearing masks in public as one can spread the deadly virus unconsciously even without showing symptoms. The main objective of wearing a mask is to protect yourself and to protect people around you.


So, what type of facemask is best to wear? Health experts advise that when choosing a face mask, focus on breathability, fabric, and the fit as well. How well a mask protects depends on what material it is made of and how well it seals around your face. If you can’t breathe well when you wear a particular mask, you should dispose of it.

Types of facemasks on the market and how to choose the right on

KN95 respirators

Like N95 respirators, KN95 respirators filter 95% of the airborne particles, and if appropriately worn, they protect the wearer and those surrounding from respiratory secretions. They are also in limited access and should be reserved for health workers who need them most as they treat COVID 19 patients.

That explains the many counterfeits on the market as people try to keep up with the demand. If you want to buy a face mask, buy a surgical mask, or use a quality homemade mask.

When it comes to choosing the right facemask, consider the application of the mask. For medical settings, KN95 is suitable, but for public protection, purposes use a surgical or homemade mask. Also evaluate the mask type, its effectiveness, the level of protection you need, comfort and if it is single-use or reusable and why.

Cloth/fabric masks

Fabric or cloth masks are homemade masks of masks made of fabric. Due to the increased demand for facemasks following COVID 19 outbreak, people started innovating new ways of improvising facemasks due to the shortage. Homemade face masks should be from a fabric of 100% cotton material.

When it comes to choosing the right homemade or cloth mask, the tightness of the weave is a critical consideration you should make. Hold the fabric into the light. If you can see the weave outlines or the individual fibers, then it is not going to make an excellent filter. The reason why 100% weaved cotton makes a good bet is because, at a microscopic level, the natural cotton fibers tend to have a more three-dimensional structure than its counterpart synthetic that is smoother. The 3-D design can block all incoming particles, although homemade masks are not as effective as surgical masks.

In addition to that, a mask of multiple layers is recommended as it is useful in blocking small particles. For instance, a mask made of two tight weave cotton layers with a built-in pocket where you can place a filter is a good fabric mask. Again, avoid masks with exhalation valves at the front. The exhalation valves make it easier to breathe out but release unfiltered air; therefore, it doesn’t protect the people surrounding you if you are contagious.

Moreover, the shape of the mask also matters. A mask that completely seals or cups tightly around your face is advisable. Masks with pleats or folds are the right choice because the folds expand so that you have more air flowing from the fabric itself rather than leaking out through the gaps at the sides of the mask. Experts advise that masks with a flat front design are less effective.

A fabric mask should be washed every day with soap and water and ensure the mask is completely dry before you re-use it. A wet mask can make breathing harder and also can promote microorganisms.

Surgical masks

A surgical mask is a disposable covering that is worn loosely around the nose and mouth to protect you from contaminants and the COVID 19 virus. Starting with short supply at the beginning of the pandemic, they are becoming more and readily available with each passing day.

Research has shown that surgical masks block a significant number of respiratory droplets released by an infected person. They come in different thicknesses and with varied ability to protect you from droplets. Such properties can also affect how well you breathe with the mask on and how well it protects you.

If you wear a surgical mask correctly, it protects you from large droplets, sprays, splashes of splatter that may contain contaminants such as germs and viruses, thus preventing them from reaching your nose and mouth. They also help reduce exposure to your respiratory secretions to other people around you.

As much as surgical masks are critical in protecting you from large droplets, they do not exceptionally fine particles that may be transmitted by coughs and sneezes due to the loose fit between it and your face. Therefore, you should keep distance even if you have it on.

A surgical mask is meant for single use only, should not be shared and can be worn with a face shield. If your mask is soiled, damaged or you can’t breathe properly with it on, dispose it safely and replace with a new one. To discard it safely, put it in a plastic bag, put it inside the trash and wash your hands adequately with soap and running water.

N95 Respirators

It is a respiratory protective mask meant to achieve a very tight fit around the face and very efficient filtration against airborne particles. One key thing to note with N95 masks is that they form a seal entirely around the nose and mouth.

They can block at least 95% of the airborne particles protecting both the wearer and people around. They are used in healthcare settings to protect healthcare workers. According to the health experts, N95 remains to be in short supply and should be reserved for health care service providers and first responders to COVID 19.

The final take

Wearing a facemask offers you some protection, although how much of it depends on the type of mask it is. A mask doesn’t provide 100% protection; therefore, it should not be a substitute for social distancing, regularly washing hands and avoiding crowds. However, when you combine or observe all those measures, you have guaranteed protection against COVID 19.

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Types Of Face Masks On The Market And How To Choose The Right One
With the rapid spread of COVID 19 in Canada and other parts of the world, health experts recommend that everyone should wear a facemask when in public.
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